21st Century Women: Nothing Sweet About Us

“I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid, to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country. I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact.”
– Ashley Judd

Perhaps 21st-century girls are made up of more than simply sugar and spice and all things nice. I, for one, can tell you that there is nothing sweet about me.

Well, at least there wasn’t last week. From the moment the sun rose, I knew I was going to be part of a historical event.

My heart still beats excitedly when I think of the events that took place at the Women’s March in Washington D.C in January this year. By the end of the day, my physical body was worn out, but my mind remained alert. The revolutionary in me had been awakened!

Hundreds, if not millions, of women, gathered proudly shoulder-to-shoulder wearing pink hats and holding flags and banners while chanting,

“We are women, hear us roar.”

In a time where division and the “alternative facts“ phrase (aka facts not founded in reality) have become popular, it’s hard to maintain neutrality when women’s rights are involved. My personal cause is to not put others down by placing them under an invisible umbrella of political correctness.

We cannot live and fight in a black and white spectrum.

American Commentator and Author, Van Jones, maintains that

“When it gets harder to love, [we should] love harder.”

Here, here!
Let’s tear down the walls that divide us.
Between women and men.
Men and men.
Women and women.
Religious and non-religious.
Americans and immigrants.

Before being involved in one of the largest political statements in history, my faith in the power of people to make a difference was dying due to the intolerance and ignorance around us.

As an immigrant, I have dealt with my fair dose of injustice.

The processes involved with coming to this country legally were complicated. The corruption in my homeland has silenced the crowds of prosperity. Please, do not judge my intelligence by my accent and flamboyant personality. I urge you, do not fear that my Hispanic brothers will take your jobs away, America.

Like you, I want to flourish and do things right. Remember, no human is illegal.

I speak for the immigration cause, for the pro-choice cause, pro-life, LGBT, equal pay, Muslim, Christian, and the humble underdog. Last week, we came together as one. No divisions. Even though march organizers decided not to have the pro-life group as part of their sponsors, some of the supporters were there.

Is it possible to be our separate selves without fear of others tearing us down? Surely, it is our uniqueness that unifies us?!

Last week, I witnessed the power of unity and love with women who reminded the world who we are and to share a simple message:

“A woman is somebody, not some body.”

Yet still, real, tangible injustice exists. Ashley Judd, American Actress, and Activist poses the question,

“Why is the work of a black woman and a Hispanic woman worth only 63 cents of a [white] man?”.

I agree that,

“This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality.”

Women, let’s show the world we can be an instrument of change with tolerance rather than tearing each other down for taking different stances in life and faith. Let’s put our words into action. We have to fight against the oppression many women live every day, against domestic violence, sexual abuse, and discrimination.

I do not want to know who you voted for. I want to hold your hand and make a new path of solidarity and acceptance.

You may think,

“Yes, that sounds ‘nice,’ good luck!”.

But on that day, in January, 500,000 of my sisters proved it can be done.

Many could say, it’s all over, the emotional blast is gone, the march wasn’t at all representative of our entire community. However, this was and is more than emotional feminism, because today we will call our senators, organize community groups, and change the course of this country.

Often, bound by depression and oppression, I have spent many years trying to find some meaning in my life. I know there is more to life and more to a woman than just sugar and spice and all things nice. I have witnessed it. I have lived it. It is hard to fight for my rights when you only see the color of my skin and my heritage.

It saddens me when I’m downgraded to a caricature of a spicy Latina woman with no brains, who is only useful in the kitchen and the bed.

But it is possible to become brave and heartened, to become a heroine to my children when women lift me up and say,

“Hope, not fear!”

Photo Credit: © Stephanie Ortez All Rights Reserved


Stephanie Ortez

Stephanie is a highly caffeinated mother of two wonderful boys. She is hopelessly addicted to non-fiction books and literature that moves her to tears. She is an admissions advisor for George Washington University online where she assists homeschooled students internationally. Stephanie lives with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She is a passionate mental health advocate, member of Stigma Fighters. Her writing has been featured on The Elephant Journal, The Mighty, The Organic Coffee Haphazardly and Feminine Collective.

4 thoughts on “21st Century Women: Nothing Sweet About Us

  1. Susan P. BlevinsSusan P. Blevins Reply

    Thank you for going to DC and marching Stephanie. I spent the day at home in prayer and meditation to keep everyone safe all over the country. I was with you all in spirit. We all need to encourage one another and give each other hope and comfort in these unbelievable times we are living through.
    Bless you,
    Love Susan

  2. Mary Rowen Reply

    You’re one of my heroes, Stephanie. Not only are you an activist and a badass, but you’re a kind, super smart, wonderful person, and I’m thrilled to be able to call you a friend. Thanks for this inspiring post.

  3. Dori OwenDori Owen Reply

    Most excellent, Miss Steph. It was inspiring to hear your voice during the March and now through this great piece. Thank you for your advocacy and tireless energy. Going to Dulles was the best…you care. xD. P.S. Nice hat.

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